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LOOK: Koala With Rare Multicolored Eyes Fascinates Vets

Jul 14, 2016 07:34 AM EDT
Koalas are marsupials that feed on eucalyptus leaves.
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/Taz)

Australia's "Bowie" is the latest star of the internet.

No, this is not a new singer and pop culture sensation; rather, a koala that was rescued in Brendale, Australia, after what is thought to be a vehicular accident.

What makes this koala quite special is her multicolored eyes: One is blue; the other, brown. This condition prompted his rescuers to name her "Bowie," after the late David Bowie who had the same eye colors. 

Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors shared photos of the female koala with a light green cast on one of her legs, sharing that the marsupial has an eye condition called heterchromia.

" ...Apart from some reduced pigmentation in her right eye, Bowie had perfect vision! The difference in Bowie's eye colour is called heterochromia which is a rare gene Bowie inherited from her parents," the post said.

Heterochromia is a condition resulting from lack of the pigment melanin or a relative excess. Heterochromia Iridum, a website dedicated to providing information about the disease, said it may be inherited from parents or can occur due to injury. Bowie's condition, as mentioned by the post, may be from genetics.

Cats and dogs can acquire the disease, too. The condition can also affect the colors of the hair and skin.

The Australia Zoo said the Bowie was given fluids and pain relief to help with the slight limp in her left hind leg caused by bruising. He was then transferred to the mammals' Intensive Care Unit. 

Bowie was also found to have mild cystitis and was administered antibiotics to aid her recovery.

Once fully healed, Bowie will be released in the wild to help the population of koalas in Queensland. At present, they are currently classified as vulnerable in the area.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are marsupials and not bears. They feed on eucalyptus leaves with an average of almost three pounds a day.

A baby koala, about a size of a jelly bean, is carried on her mother's pouch for six months until it already can hold on branches on its own. National Geographic notes a full grown koala is only about 2 to 3 feet.

Habitat destruction and deaths because of illegal trafficking has reduced their population over the years.

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